Music Marketing

Tell My Friends vs. E-junkie: Can You End Piracy By Rewarding Music Buyers?

Ejunkie-logoTell My Friends is a recently launched social music and commerce platform that is designed to run a multilevel affiliate sales program for your music. It's an interesting idea that's being pitched as a way to combat music piracy by offering rewards to music buyers. But if rewards are the solution, then why not use a do-it-yourself service such as E-junkie?

How Tell My Friends Works

Tell My Friends is a Singapore-based combination social network and affiliate program with multilevel marketing components.  SoundCtrl gives it a thumbs up for "good intentions."

The basic idea is that when a member buys a piece of music they then get a link to send to their friends. If their friends buy the music then they are rewarded with a percentage of the sale. If it stopped there, it would be an affiliate program but they carry it out to ten levels of reward so that makes it a form of multilevel marketing (MLM).

In a statement CEO Ben Looi positioned Tell My Friends:

"The real world problem we are trying to solve is online music piracy…People love music, but they just don’t want to pay for it…We have created a system that gives consumers a value proposition over free…because you will be rewarded. Consumers can earn back even more than what they paid for a song, simply by doing what they have always been doing – sharing songs with friends."

Tell My Friend's FAQ answers the question, "Where does the money go to?"

"Typically, at least 50% of the revenue from the sale of each product goes back to the people who created the product in the form of royalty – sound recording, mechanical and communication royalties….About 30% of the revenue from the sale of each product goes back to consumers in the form of commissions…you can choose to keep the commissions for yourself, or you can choose to donate it to a worthy cause through our Secret Angel Programme."

It's an interesting idea though one has to consider the longterm effects of building a fanbase of those accustomed to monetary return.

If you're interested in having your music available on Tell My Friends, use this contact form.

Why Not Start Your Own Affiliate Program?

Smart diy'ers already know to use affiliate links when linking to music on services such as iTunes in order to receive additional revenue for such sales. Well why not go Direct-to-Fan with an affiliate program software service such as E-junkie?

E-junkie provides a full ecommerce solution built around a shopping cart and digital store. That solution includes an affiliate program feature that allows you to then offer a percentage of sales to resellers.

If you're using WordPress, a variety of plugins exist to help you set up an affiliate program.

Once you start to assemble your own solution, you'll find that you have to connect multiple services, apps or plugins. That's easier to do than it used to be but you might find you wish to go for a more complete product whether in the form of a social platform such as Tell My Friends or your own affiliate program using a solution like E-junkie.

Can Rewards Programs End Piracy?

Though I find it unlikely that financial rewards based on resales will end piracy, I do think that affiliate programs have a place in DIY music ecommerce. 

If you're really interested in combating piracy by focusing on the needs of your fans and customers, the most basic step is to make your music legally available wherever your fans may be in the form they prefer, whether download, streaming or physical product.  Then make sure they know it's available.

Once your music is available to those who want it as soon as possible, then exploring more complex options makes sense in order to create a unique mix that fits your fan base.

Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch) maintains a business writing hub at Flux Research and blogs at Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. First of all, thanks for the review. Setting up Tell My Friends is really a dream come true. I agree fully that a rewards system cannot end piracy. Neither can DRM or SOPA. However, Tell My Friends is not “anti”, but “counter” piracy. It is a balance we all must strike between draconian measures and freedom of choice. Tell My Friends offers consumers a third choice of being rewarded…the first 2 are either paying or getting for free. You can now choose paying cheap $0.99 for a song, get it for free through pirate sources, or pay a small affordable premium that allows you to earn money.
    Honestly we don’t know if we will succeed, but as long as my team stays crazy enough to be bold, and smart enough to be wise, we’ll stay the course and make things happen.
    We have many things lined up to help artistes sell their music, not just an online platform, but many other important off-line marketing tools. Customised prepaid cards is critical as nothing beats cash. We also turn up for gigs of those artistes with their songs on our platform, and we help get the crowd to buy prepaid cards and download their songs. We hope to find the right mix of online and offline business models and methods to do one thing – change consumer behavior.

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